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COPPER MINES AND NEWGATE PRISON, ^
AT GRANBY, CONN.
ALSO, OF THE
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES,
Of Granbjr, by the Indians, In 1707.
By NOAH A. PHELPs!
PRESS OF CASE, TIFFANY & BURNHAM,
COPPEE MINES AND NEWGATE PHISON,
AT GRANBY, CONN.
ALSO, OF THE
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYS,
Of Granby, by the Indians, In 1707.
By NOAH A. PHELPS. '
PRESS OF CASE, TIFFANY & BURNHAM,
r;:H.^e:t,::Msr™. fora.id»circuU.io„ t.a„ .heHisto,y..„....ch
lh.y originall, appeared, e.„ comma.i ^_^_^^ ^^^^^j^
I, U believed Ih.t Ih.s pamphlet " " l''^;; ^^ ,„, i„,a,„t, „„„!„ of
rrr°.°eoJr:-::;. s...e,„e„.of rac, d,aw„. .„ .0,. case,, fro.
record and other documentary proot.
THE COPPER MINES,
AT GRANBY, CONNECTICUT.
The Copper Mines. Discovery. Magnitude of the Works. Amount of Disbursements.
Smelting Works at Hanover. The Phceuix Mining Company. 1705—1833.
^' The copper mines, known afterwards as the site of the
celebrated state prison, called Newgate, are situated on the
Avest side of the east mountain in Granby. The place, for
many years, was called " Copper Hill." It is not known
at what period copper ore was first discovered here. The
fii;st record evidence relating to the mines is under date of
December, 1705, when, at a town meeting of the inhabit-
ants of Simsbury,* upon suggestion made " that there was
a mine either of silver or copper found in the town," a
committee was appointed to make search for the same and
report to a future meeting.^
The report of the conmiittee does not appear on record,
but is presumed to have been favorable to the discovery, for
in 1707 an association, comprising all such proprietors of
the town as had subscribed, or who within a limited time
should subscribe the articles of agreement, was formed to
work the mines. Copper-hill at this time was a wilder-
ness ; — and as none of the lands in that vicinity had been
sold or granted, the right of soil remained in the " proprie-
tors of the town," nearly all of whom came into this agree-
ment. The association, after deducting the expenses of the
works, was to allow the town ten shillings on each ton of
copper produced, and to divide the residue among the part-
ners of the concern in proportion to the amounts of their
respective lists. The mining operations commenced about
this time, and under this partnership concern.
*The mines then, and for eighty years afterwards, were within the town of
4 THECOPPER MINES
This company dug the ore only — they did not undertake
to smelt it. But, in the same year, they entered into a con-
tract with Messrs. John Woodbridge of Springfield, Dudley
Woodbridge of Simsbury, and Timothy Woodbridge Jr.
then of Hartford, all clergymen, by which these gentlemen
agreed to run and refine the ore, and cast the metal into
bars fit for transportation or a market ; — and after deducting
the tenth part belonging to the town, of which two-thirds
thereof was to be given for the maintenance " of an able
schoolmaster in Simsbury," and the other third to the
" Collegiate school," Yale College, — the residue was to be
equally divided between them and the proprietors or work-
ers of the mine.
The business was carried on in this manner but a few
years — probably because the smelting process was not
understood, and could not be proceeded with to the advan-
tage of either parly. In 1712, the proprietors, or " asso-
ciation," appointed a committee to call the contractors " to
account, and, if necessary, to sue them for the ore that had
been brought to them at divers times."
The legislatiue, in consideration that " a public benefit"
might result from these mines, and to aid the proprietors in
the management thereof, passed an act in 1709, vesting the
right to control all matters relating to the mines " in the
major jjartof the proprietors according to the interest of each
proprietor," and providing for organizing and holding meet-
ings of the proprietors, and appointing a committee to man-
age their concerns. The act also provided for the adjudi-
cation of all matters in controversy between any and all
persons connected with the mines, by a board of three com-
missioners, with power to summon a jury in cases where the
sum in controversy exceeded acertain amount. Tliiscouit
held its sessions generally at the mines, tliough sometimes
at other places. It had a clerk, and its jurisdiction, in
amount of damages claimed, was co-extensive witli that of
County courts. A vast deal of !)usiness was disposi^d of by
this tribunal, by the agency of which, both time and expense
was saved by the litigating parties.
AT GRANBY, CON. »
The business on the part of the proprietors was managed
under the provisions of this net, and other simdar acts, by a
.committee appointed annually during the whole lime that
the mines were worked, (before the Phcenix company com-
menced operations,) a period of over si^ty years. This
•committee, at various times, made leases to several individ-
uals or companies, of certain portions or specified rights in
the common lands where copper ore had been or might be
discovered, during a term of years ; — the lessees on their
part agreeing to pay to the committee a per centage on the
ore procured ; or a certain portion, generally one-thirtieth
part, of the copper extracted from the ore and manufactured
fit for market. In no case did any of these leases extend
beyond thiity years.
Some of the wealthiest capitalists in Boston and New
York, took leases and embarked in the enterprise. A com-
pany too, belonging to Holland, and another company
belonging to London, were for many years interested in the
concern, and furnished large sums of money to carry on the
works. The Woodbridge family, and at least one member
of the Wyllys family, were many years largely engaged in
the business. These mining operations were very exten-
sively pursued from 1713 to about 1737,, and to some extent
until the war o-f 1775. The amomU of money expended
cannot be ascertained, but must have been very large.
During a period of two years from August, 1716, one com-
pany, under the superintendence of Elias Boudinot,* ex-
pended about three thousand dollars. A petition, dated in
1723, states that "the copper works had brought into this
plantation from foreign countries^ al)Out ten thousand
pounds." Governor Belcher, of Boston, iji a letter dated
1735, states that during about twenty-three years, he had
disbursed upwards of fiUeen thousand pounds.f The expeu-
• This Mr. Boudinot resided for some time in Simsbury. He was ancestor
of the late Hias Boudinot, of New Jersey, who was a distinguished states-
man, and the first superintendent of the United States Mint at Philadelphia.
t This letter is addressed to John Humphry, Joseph Pettibone.and Samuel
Pettibone, a committee of the proprietors, who had called upon him to settle
b THECOPPER MINES
ditures of the other companies are not known, but in the
aggregate must have amounted to a large sum.
After 1721, when a division of the mining lands took
place among the lessees, each company worked at separate
mines, all situated upon Copper-hill, and (excepting Hig-
ley's) within the compass of less than one mile. The works
most improved, and where the greatest excavations were
made, were subsequently purchased for a state prison. At
this place,two perpendicular shafts were dug, chiefly through
rocks, one extending to the depth of over seventy feet, and
the other about thirty-five feet. From the bottom of these
shafts .caverns excavated for ore extend in various direc-
tions, some four or five hundred feet, including "levels"
or drains for discharging the water. Some parts of these
excavations are now entirely filled with water. At Higley's
mine, which lies about a mile and a half south of this,
extensive old workings exist, though commenced at a later
period than the others. Mr. Edmund Quincy, of Boston,
had a company of miners working at this place at the break-
ing out of the war of the revolution ; soon after which the
works were abandoned.
In 1731, a new company was formed, consisting of Adam
Winthrop, George Cradock, James Bowdoin, Job Lewis,
Joshua Winslow, Benjamin Pemberton and North Ingham,
all of Boston, who took a lease by which a sixth pait of the
mines was conveyed to them for the term of thirty yeai-s.
This lease was signed by Samuel Humphry, Joseph Case,
and Joseph Phelps, a comnnttee in behalf of the town pro-
prietors. It is not known to what extent, or how long, this
company pursued the business.
In addition to the persons already named as lessees, or
otherwise interested in the mines, Jared Elliot of Killing-
worth,* Jahleel Brenton of Rhode Island, Charles Cromme-
for back rents. The original letter is in the possession of Dcsitheus Humphry
Esq. a descendant of John Humphry Esq.
* A clergyman and physician of great celebrity, who resided at Killing-
lin of New York, William Patridgc of Boston, and sundry
other persons, were concerned at various times, and in differ-
Engineers and superintendents from Europe, some of
them persons of distinction, and miners from Germany,
were employed in these works. Among them were Major
John Sydervelt, who remained in Simsbury until bis death;
Caspar Hoofman, who died heie March 21, 1732; and John
Christian Miiller, a principal refiner, who married and died
Connected with these mines were works for smelting and
refining. These were erected about the year 1721, upon
Hop brook, in Simsbury, a few rods westerly of the upper or
TuUer's mills, and consisted of sundry buildings, in addition
to a mill for crashing or pounding the ore, and a furnace.
The place was called Hanover, a name yet retained, which
was given to it by the workmen who had emigrated from a
place of the same name in Germany. A portion of the ore
dug at the mines was smelted at these works, — but to what
extent this business was prosecuted, or with what success, is
not known. In 1725, when this property was attached,
there was found and levied upon one thousand seven hun-
dred pounds of black copper, so called, it is supposed,
because it was not refined. This branch of the business,
however, being prohibited by tbe laws of Great Britain, was
carried on secretly, and consequently at great disadvantage ;
and with the other embarrassments mentioned, relating to
smelting, resulted in a probable loss. The Hanover works,
of v\'hich but few indications now remain, were dcmolislied
many y(\ars since. The ore procured at tbe mines, which
was not l)rought here for smelting, was shipped to England.
One cargo was taken by the French, and auotber, accord-
ing to report, was sunk in the English cliannel by ship-
wreck. Other cargoes arrived in Europe, where the ore
* His wife was Hannah Weston, by whom he had twocliildren before 1731.
It is believed that after his death the name was changed to Miller, and that
some of his descendants now live in Granby.
8 THECOPPER MINES
Iq these mining operations, but little comparatively was
done after 1745, though at no time, it is believed, was the
business wholly abandoned until 1778. In 1772, Captain
James Holmes, an Englishman, then a resident of Salisbury,
took a lease of the principal mine for twenty years, which
he sold the next year to the state for a prison.
A coin made from this ore, called " Higley's Coppers,"
was at one time in some circulation in the vicinity of the
mines. It is said to have passed for two and sixpence,
(forty-two cents,) in paper currency it is presumed, though
composed chiefly, if not entirely, of copper.
One of these coins, dated 1737, is in the cabinet of the
Connecticut Historical Society. Its inscription on one side
is, "I am good copper ; "—on the other, "Value me as
you please." These coppers were much used for meltmg
up with gold 'in the manufacture of jewelry, and for this
purpose were considered vastly preferable to ordinary cop-
per coin. They were not in circulation as a currency after
the peace of 1783. The inventor and maker, is supposed
to have been Doct. Samuel Higley who, a few years before
this, had attempted to manufacture steel, and was somewhat
distinguished for enterprises of this character.
The Phojnix Mining Company, incorporated in 1830,
having purchased the state prison property, consisting of
about five acres of land, with sundry buildings enclosed by
a stone wall, and having secured, by long leases, the right
of mining upon large tracts of other lands lying in the
vicinity, commenced mining operations in 1831, under the
superintendency of Richard Bacon Est], of Simsbury. Owing
however to some unforeseen dilliculties in the process of
smelting and refining the ore, and other obstructions occa-
sioned by the pecuniary embarrassments of the times, the
works after a short time were discontinued. That they will
be resumed at some future time under more favorable aus-
pices, and with a fairer prospect of success, is confidently
believed by those who are conversant with the business, and
have devoted to these mines a critical examination.
A gentleman who has been extensively engaged in this
business in Europe, and who is said to be an experienced
and scientific miner, speaking of these mines, says : —
" The principal vein is hirge, and one which, in mining
pliraseology, would he termed aflat lode, making with the
horizon an angle of perhaps twenty-three degrees. Its
matrix is a yellowish grey sandstone, nearly similar to the
common sandstone of the neighborhood, but yet so percep-
tibly differing from it, as to allow of its being traced at sur-
face, for at least a mile, north and south, by its characteristic
color and general appearance. In tliis matrix, copper is
pretty generally disseminated, principally in nodules of rich
brittle grey sulphuret, interspersed here and there with
minute strings of common yellow pyrites. The lode ap-
pears to be favorably disposed for yielding mineral and
copper ore in particular."
The ore, it is said, produces on an average, from ten to
twelve per cent of co})per, but some large specimens have
been obtained, producing from thirty to forty per cent. It
is of the kind technically called " refractory," — a species
that ordinarily resists the usual process of smelting. Other
processes, however, have led to more successful results.
By skill, enterprise and new experiments, all impediments
of this nature will, it is believed be easily removed. '
Newgate Paisoif. Establishment. Destruction of Buildings by Fire. Escape of Con-
victs. Confinement of Tories. Employment of Prisoners. Police Regulations.
The General Assembly, at the May session, 1773, in view
of establishing a state prison, appointed William Pitkin,
Erastus Wolcott, and Jonathan Humphrey Esq'rs, a com-
mittee *' to view and explore the copper mines at Sims-
bury, — their situation, nature and circumstances, and to
examine and consider whether they may be beneficially
applied to the purpose of confining, securing and profitably
employing such criminals and delinquents as may be com-
mitted to them, by any futiiro law or laws of this Colony,
in lieu of the infamous punishments in divers cases now
appointed ; — and at what probable expense the said mines
may be obtained for the purpose aforesaid ;" and make
report to the then session of tiie Assembly.
Upon their report that the mines were subject to an unex-
pired lease of nineteen years, which coukl be purcliased for
about sixty pounds, and that by an expenditure of about
thirty-seven pounds, the caverns could be so secured that it
would be " next to impossible for any person to escape"
from them; tlie same gentlemen were invested "with full
power to agree with the proprietors of said mines, or the
lessees thereof, to receive, keep and employ in said mines such
criminals as may by law be sentenced to sucli punishment,
or to purchase in the remaining term in said h'ases, for such
purposes, and according to their best (hscr( tion elfectually
to secure said mines suitably to employ such })ersons as
may be there confined by order of law."
The committee reported at the next session, Oct. 1773,
12 NEWGATE PRISON.
that they had purchased the remaining term of Hohnes''
lease, being- about nineteen years, for ,£60 — that by blasting
rocks they had "prepared a well finished lodging room,
about fifteen feet by twelve," in the caverns, — and had
fixed over the west shaft a large iron door, which they " ap-
prehend will be an effectual security for the confinement of
persons that may be condemned there for employment."
The whole expense, including the purchase money, amount-
ed to three hundred and seventy dollars. The east shaft
which extends perpendicularly about seventy feet, chiefly
through a solid rock, was left open. There were no walls
provided, nor were there any buildings upon the premises.
At this session, an Act was passed " constituting the subter-
raneous caverns and buildings in the copper mines in Sims-
bury, a public gaol and workhouse for the use of the
Colony ;" to which was given the name of Newgate Prison.
The prisoners were to be employed in mining. The crimes,
which by the Act subjected offenders to confinement and
labor in the prison, were — burglary, horse stealing, and
counterfeiting the public bills or coins, or making instru-
ments or dies therefor.
The first overseers of Newgate appointed, were Major
Erastus Wolcott, Josiah Bissell and Jonathan Humphrey
Esq'rs. Mr. John Viets,* who lived near the place, was
appointed master, or keeper of the prison. Food for the
prisoners was supplied by him.
The first convict received into the prison was John Hin-
son. He was committed Dec, 22, 1773, and escaped on the
9lh of January following, by being drawn up through the
eastern shaft by a rope, assisted, it is said, by a woman, to
whom he was paying his addresses. On the 26th of Feb-
ruary, 1774, three prisoners were received ; — one of whom
escaped on the 9th, and the other two on the 23d of the
next April. One committed on the 5th of April, escaped on
the 9th of the same month, having been in confinement
* The ancestor of Mr. Viets was a CJerman, and came to this country with
a company of miners, to which he was attached as physician and surgeon.
four days. It is not known how these escapes were cflected.
Besides the east sltaft which was left open, there were other
parts of the caverns which had not been properly secured.
None of these prisoners, it is understood, were retaken.
By this time, the overseers had probably changed their
minds respecting the perfect security of the ])rison. A night
watch was employed during part of this time.
Soon after the escape of Hinson, the GeneraLAssembly
in January 1774, directed the overseers to cause the east
shaft to be effectually secured with stone or iron, and to
build a log block-house with two or three rooms, one of
which was to be placed directly over the west shaft. These
improvements were made during this year, but not until
after the escape of the other prisoneis mentioned above.
In the spring of 1775, three prisoners escaped, all of whom
were retaken. At the May session of this year, the Assem-
bly ordered the overseers to make sale of the ore dug at the
prison. There were at this time nine convicts in confine-
ment, all of whom were engaged in excavating copper ore
under the charge of two persons employed as miners.
The block-liouse having been destroyed by fire in the
spring of 1776, the Assembly, in May, ordered a new one
to be constructed, and also a frame dwelling house, for the
keeper of the prison, one story high, eighteen by thirty feet.
This burning was by design, to favor the escape of the
convicts, none of whom however escaped at this time.
In 1777. the block-bouse was again burnt, and another
one ordered to be built. All the prisoners were removed to
the jail in Hartford for confinement. It is supposed that
the jirison was not repaired, or used as such, until 1780.
If it was repaired before; that lime, the buildings were again
destroyed, for at tlie session of the At=scmbly in January
1779, the prison being represented "to be in a ruinous con-
dition," and " altogether insuflicient to answer the salutary
purposes for which it was prepared," the overseers were
directed to erect new buildings, with " a block-house on (he
surface of the ground over the mouth of the cavern, suitable
and convenient to secure and employ the prisoners in labor
14 NEWGATE PRISON.
in the day time ;" and wlien completed to appoint a keeper
of the prison.
The prison was completed in November 1780, and was
supplied with a military guard consisting of a lieutenant,
one sergeant, one corporal and twenty-four privates. Up to
this time, the prisoners had been employed in the mines,
and been furnished with food by persons not connected with
the prison*. Now they were employed in mechanical ope-
rations, and supplied with food prepared in the prison.
The prison had been left entirely unprotected by any
wall until ]781. In February of this year, the overseers
were directed by the Assembly to construct, at a convenient
distance around the prison and buildings, a piquet fence
with small bastions at the corners for defense. A work of
this kind was much needed, and notwithstanding the com-
bustible material with which it was constructed, it tended
very much to strengthen the prison. In other respects too,
the prison was in a much better condition than at any pre-
But, one of the most daring andsuccessful attempts ever
made at this prison to overcome the guard and throw open
the prison doors, was made after this time, and when, as
was supposed, a general escape of the convicts was imprj^c-
ticable. On the iSth of May 1781, the prisoners, amount-
ing to twenty-eight persons, most of whom were tories, rose
upon the guard, seized their arms, and made good their
escape — carrying their captured arms with them. Every
prisoner left. The design was so well planned and execu-
ted, that but a small number of them were re-captured.
It was supposed that one or more of the guard had been
bribed to favor the escape of the prisoners. About ten
o'clock at night on the ISth of May 1781, when all the
guard but two had retired to rest, a wife of one of the pris-
oners appeared, to whom permission was given to visit her
husband in the caverns. Upon the hatches being opened
to admit her passing down, the prisoners, who were at the
door and prepared for the encounter, rushed up, seized the
guns of the sentry on duty, who made little or no resistance,
N E W G A T K P R I S O N . l5
and became masters of tlie guard room before those who
were asleep could be aroused and prepaied to make defense.
One brave fellow, by name of Sheldon, who was an officer
of the guard, fought valiantly, and was killed upon the spot,
having been pierced by a bayonet through his body. A few
others, belonging to the guard, received trifling injuries from
clubs with which the assailants were armed. The guard
was easily overcome. A few sought safety by flight, — but
the greater number were disarmed by the prisoners and
locked up in the caverns. The prisoners, having equipped
themselves with the captured arms, escaped, and with lew-
exceptions had the adroitness, or good luck, to avoid a
The General Assembly, then in session, appointed a com-
mittee to investigate this matter, and ascertain the causes
of the disaster. The committee after a critical examina-
tion, reported the testimony taken by them ; — from which
it appears that the discipline of the guard was defective —
that their conduct at the time of the revolt was, with few
exceptions, cowardly— and that at least one person, by the
name of Lilly, was bribed and favored the escape of the
prisoners. Lilly was afterwards prosecuted and convicted
of this offence ; and the gnard was so remodeled as to give
greater security to the prison thereafter.
On the 6th of November 1782, the prison buildings were
once more destroyed by fire ; but how, or by what means
the fire was communicated, does not appear. No doulit,
however, exists that the conflagration was by design, m
order to facilitate the escape of the tories who were there in
confinement. Duiing the progress of the fire, one Abel
Davis, who was asergeantof the guard, opened the hatches
and suffered as many of the prisoners, as were so disposed,
to escape from the prison. A large number of them did
escape, most of whom were re-captured in the neighbor-
hood and secured. Davis, who seems to have been very
illitemte, and altogether unfit for the station which he held,
was convicted of ihe offence of aiding in the escape, and
sentenced to a fiae and imprisonment in the county jail.
O NEWGATE PRISON.
The prisoners remaining after this conflagration, with
those subsequently re-taken, were removed to the jail in
Hartford. The prison was not repaired, nor nsed again
until 1790. Indeed, it would seem that, at this time, the
project of keeping up a prison at this place was abandoned
altogether. No measures were taken to repair it, — on the
contrary, in May 1784, all the property remaining at the
prison and saved from the fire, consisting of iron, timber, clo-
thing, &c. was ordered by the legislature to be sold, and the
avails paid into the treasury. Little else but disaster had
attended the prison from its establishment. More than one
half of all the prisoners committed to it had escaped, and
during the nine years of its continuance, the buildings con-
nected with it had been destroyed by fire three times. In
no respect had the prison been properly constructed or
secured. The buildings were of wood, and so exposed as
to be easily fired from without. Prison building in those
days, as well as prison discipline, was not so well under-
stood as at the present time. All the jails in the state were
then constructed of wood.
And yet this prison had a reputation abroad for great
strength and security. Its fame had spread through the
country far and wide. For a long time it was considered
the strongest prison in the United States. In 1775, Gen.
Washington sent to it some prisoners for safe custody, whom
he deemed such " atrocious villains," as to require a stronger
place for their confinement than could be found near his
camp.* And, in 1781, Congress proposed to make these
* Letter from Gen. Washington, to the Committee of Safety, Simsbury.
Cambridge, December 11, 1775.
Gentlemen ; — The prisoners which will be delivered you with this, hav-
ing been tried by a court-martial, and deemed to be such flagrant and atro-
cious villains that they cannot by any means be set at large or confined in any
place near this camp, were sentenced to be sent to Symsbury in Connecticut.
You will therefore be pleased to have them secured in your jail, or in such
other manner as to you shall seem necessary, so that they cannot oossibly
make their escape. The charges of their imprisonment will be at the Con-
I am &c.
N E W G A T E P R I S O N . 17
mines "a state prison for the reception of British prisoners
of war, and for the purpose of retaliation ;" and asked from
the Governor of this state a pkm and estimates of expense.
Governor Trumbull laid the matter before the General
Assembly, who assented to the proposition, and requested
him to furnish for Congress the plan and estimates required.
What these were, do not appear, but the subject was drop-
ped, probably for the reason that soon after this time a ter-
mination of the war was anticipated.
Mention has already been made of the confinement of
tories in this prison. No person of this description was
imprisoned here until 1780, when an Act was passed author-
ising' the superior court to sentence to confinement in New-
gate, such persons as should be convicted of certain specified
crimes against the g'overnnient not amounting to treason,
but which consisted of certain overt acts deemed prejudicial
to the cause of independenee. Courts Mai tial too, exercised
the power of sentencing to this prison persons found guilty
of similar ollenses. The whole number of persons, called
tories, imprisoned, did not, it is believed, exceed forty. At
one time there were upwards of twenty in the prison, all of
whom, as before stated, escaped on the 18th of May 1781.
Among them were persons of some note and distinction.
The leader of this rebellion was a Captain Peter Sackett,
who had rendered himself notorious, as well as extremely
obnoxious, by his adherence to the cause of )h.e British
A new Act, more perfect and specific in its details than
the former one, was passed in 1790, constituting tlie caverns
at these mines, with a small quantity of land over them, a
state prison, denominated, as before, Newgate. The act
provided for the appointment of three overseers, who were
directed to cause a workshop and a dwelling house for the
keeper lo be erected, and to enclose them with a piquet wall
or fence, — and to a])point a keeper, with aguard not exceed-
ing ten persons, to manage and protect the prison. The
expense of rebuilding it was limited to j£750. Persons con-
victed of burglary, robbery, horsc-slealing, counterfeiting,
passing counterfeit money, knowing it to be such, and aid-
ing in the escape of convicts from the prison, were to be
confined at hard labor in this pkice for a term of yeais, or,
in some cases, during the life of the culprit. Subsequently,
for a few other crimes, the offender was subjected to impris-
The Hon. John Tread well, and Roger Newberry, and
Pliny Hillyer Esq. were appointed the overseers. A large
workshop and a dwelling house, both of brick, w^ere con-
structed, together with sundry other buildings of minor con-
sequence. Under the west end of the dwelling house was
a small room well secured by massive stone walls, from
which led the only passage to the caverns beneath. This
entrance was perforated through a solid rock, and contained
a ladder by which passage to or from the caverns was made.
The mouth of this entrance, as was also the one leading into
this room from the guard-room above, was well secured
by a trap door with lock and heavy bolts. A wooden fence,
furnished with spikes on the top, enclosed these buildings
with about half an acre of land for a yard.
The prison was finished in October 1790, and Major Peter
Curtiss was appointed the keeper, to whom with a guard of
ten men was committed its management.
From this time, the affairs of the piison assumed a new
aspect. The prison was more securely built, and better
managed than at any former period. Escapes from it were
rare, and there were no instances of a general rebellion, or
an entire clearing out of its inmates as formerly.
The system of discipline and employment, as at first
adopted, continued to be followed, with but slight varia-
tions, until the removal of the convicts to the new state
prison in 1827. As a general rule, the prisoners were lodged
in the caverns. At day light, they weie taken up and
removed to the work shop, where they remained until four
o'clock P. M., when they were returned to the caverns.
They took their meals in the work shop. These consisted
of coarse food prepared in the prison, which was dealt out
to them by rations. Nearly all of them wore fetters strongly
rivctted to their ankles. The most refractory, and desperate
of their number, were more heavily ironed. In general,
when at work, they were chained at their respective blocks
in the shop, and a portion of them were secured by an extra
chain leading from a band around ihe neck to a beam in the
The punishment for misconduct, or offences committed
in the prison, was whipping, short rations, extra ironing,
and, in some specified cases designated by statute, an addi-
tional term of imprisonment. Each prisoner had a fixed
amount of work to perform each day. Those who did extra
work had the benefit of it in an allowance on the bills of
costs incurred in their prosecutions.
At first, all the prisoners were employed in making
wrought nails, the iron for which was procured at Canaan
and Salisbury. This business was followed during the
whole time of the continuance of the prison at this place,
and was, for many years, the chief occupation of the con-
victs. A few other branches of manufacture were carried
on, though not extensively. After 1820, a large number
of the convicts were employed in the maiuifacture of shoes,
wagons and various other articles, by which a greater profit
was derived than from the nail making business. Indeed,
the manufacture of nails at this place had always been
attended with loss to the state.
In 1802, a substantial stone wall, twelve feet high, was
built around the premises, having a gate which was never
opened except by a sentinel under arms on duty. Tliis
wall was built by 'Colonel Calvin Barber of Simsbury. All
the guards when on duty were underarms, and prepaied at
all times to use their weapons in any confiict or outbreak
that might happen. Their number, at first ten, was subse-
quently increased to seventeen. The government, as well
as the duties of the guard, partook strongly of a military
Additional buildings were subsc'([uently erected. About
1815, a two story building, nearly fifty feet long, was put
upia the south east corner of the yard. The lower story
20 NEWGATE PRISON.
was appropriated for cells, and the upper one for a cliapel
in which divine service was thereafter usually held once on
each Sunday. Adjoining- this on the west, was another
building: of about the same length, the lower story of which
was occupied for a cooper's shop, hospital and kitchen, and
the upper story as a shoe maker's shop. In the northeast
corner of the yard was another building used for making
wagons. The cells above mentioned being weakly con-
structed, were not much used. Still later, about 1824, a
large edifice of stone and brick was built on the westerly
side of the yard, which contained a tread mill, with the
usual appurtenances for grinding grain, — a number of strong
cells, — apartments for female convicts, — a kitchen, office,
&c. This building was erected chiefly by convict labor.
The tread mill, however, like all other similar ones, proved
a failure — the labor of working it being found too expensive
for the state, and quite too cruel for the convicts.
In the basement story of the guard-house, and near the
entrance to the caverns, was a strongly built apartment
about fifteen feet square, called the "jug." This room was
used at first for the sick, and occasionally as a lodging room
for that class of prisoners who were known to be well dispo-
sed, and from whom no danger of attempting an escape was
apprehended. The other prisoners were lodged in the cav-
erns, where their beds consisted of two large platforms sup-
plied with straw and a few blankets. The novice in crime,
and the most hardened villain, were thus promiscuously
huddled together without any restraint, or immediate over-
sight by any of the guard during the night season.
The number of criminals in confinement after ISOO, varied
from about forty-five to sixty, until 1821, when the number
of offenses, punishable by confinement in Newgate, was
considerably increased by legislative enactments. This,
with the increase of crime, and the change about this time
of the law relating to the punishment of female convicts,
by which they were subjected to imprisonment here in tlie
same manner as, for similar offenses, the males were, caused
a considerable addition to the number of prisoners. In
1827, when they were removed to the n6w prison at Weth-
ersfieki, they amounted to one hundred and twenty-seven.
The prison was never ahle to support itself from the avails
of convict lahor. The deficiency, which was paid from the
state treasury, varied from five thousand to over thirteen
thousand dollars per annum. It would average about
seven thousand dollars a year, including outlays for new
The state having provided a new prison at Wethersfield,
all the prisoners were removed so as to connnence operations
there on the first of October 1827. The old prison, with its
buildings and some five acres of land, were sold in 1830, to
the Phffinix Mining Company, for twelve hundred dolhirs.
. This place was greatly resorted to by visitors, and espe-
cially so during the winter months, when there was sleigh-
ing.* Many of them descended into the caverns, and all
had an opportunity to inspect generally the discipline and
the labor-system of the prison. To those unaccustomed
to the scene, a visit to the nail-shop presented a view
extremely revolting, and to some even terrific. Here might
be seen some fifty men, black and white, and so besmeared
as to be hardly distinguishable, chained to their blocks,
busily engaged in a noisy employment, and closely watched
and guarded by a file of men under arms. Add to this, the
appearance of the room with its inmates and implements,
as viewed by strong lights proceeding from the various fur-
naces, and the continual clatter of hammers used in forging
nails,— and some idea of tbe scene, though necessarily an
imperfect one, may be imagined.
Besides the revolt under Capt. Sackett, which has already
been mentioned, and which was so successfully carried out,
there have been several escapes, and attempts to break tlie
prison ; a few of which are worthy of notice.
Shortly before 1800, a number of prisoners made tiicir
escape by opening one of the shafts which had been filled
• In a report made by tbe overseers in IS 10, it is stated tbat the niunber of
visitors to tlie prison would average (our bundred and tifty monthly.
up and, as was supposed, well secured by stones strongly
bolted together. It was a work of great labor, and must
have been a long while in progress.
In 1802, when the keeper and nearly all the officers and
guard were sick and off duty, the prisoners, at the time of
being returned to the caverns, rose upon the small remnant
of guard able to be on duty, and attempted to escape. By
the prompt action and indomitable courage of Mr. Dan
Forward, a private, and who was indued with great mus-
cular strength, the prisoners were subdued and safely secured
under the hatches. It is supposed that this revolt was ill
matured, or not generally known, for it did not commence
until, a large portion of the convicts had descended into the
caverns. Had it been well managed, it would, probably,
have succeeded, as the guard was too weak to quell a gen-
eral rebellion on an occasion like this.
There was another rebellion in 1806. Nearly all the
convicts employed in the nail shop had been supplied with
pewter keys, with which to unlock their fastenings, manu-
factured by some very skillful mechanics then in prison.
At a given signal, the convicts were to unlock the chains
which confined them to their stations, and make a concerted
attack upon the guard. The signal was given — the men
released tbemselves — and two of them commenced the
attack by siezing the officer on duty so suddenly as to disable
him from using his weapons in defense. A short scuffle
ensued, during which one of the guard, not on duty in that
shop, ran to the place and shot one of the ring leaders, a
negro, dead upon tbe spot. This event so disheartened the
rest that they immediatel}^ returned to their places and sued
In the spring of 1822, nearly all the prisoners, then
amounting to over one hundred, concerted a plan to over-
power the guard and effect their escape. The time selected
for the attempt was during the temporary absence of the
keeper and three of the guard ; — the force remaining on
duty being fourteen persons. Their plan was to have a
general rising in all the shops at a given signal. The sig-
nal was given in the nail shop, when the attack commenced.
One of the guard was knocked down and his arms taken
from him, and another was seized and mastered. During
the scuffle which ensued, a reinforcement arrived upon the
ground. Two of the insurgents were shot at and wounded,
though not mortally, which terminated the affiay. There
was no outbreak in the other shops— probably the signal
was not heard.
On the night precedmg the removal of the prisoners to
the new prison in Wethersfield, one of the convicts, by the
name of Starkey, was killed in attempting to make his
escape. The shaft, used for a well, communicated with one
of the caverns about seventy feet below the surface of the
earth. The top of this shaft was well secured by a hatch,
which it was intended should be always fastened down in
the night season. On this evening, the well was left open,
and, as appearances would indicate, by design. Starkey
attempted to ascend by climbing the rope used for drawing
water. In making the ascent, the rope broke, by which
he was precipitated to the bottom, where he was found
The convicts, while at this prison, generally enjoyed
good health. With but a single exception, which was
readily accounted for by local causes, no contagious disease
had ever occurred here. The caverns, as a lodging place,
were generally deemed conducive to health. Those afflicted
with cutaneous diseases were often cured. The temperature
was uniform at all seasons of the year, being, as indicated
by the thermometer, at about fifty-two degrees.
The inmates of this prison formed a motley group.
Amongst them might be found rogues of high celebrity—
the most hardened and reckless— the cunning and adroit—
and often mechanics and artizans gifted with ingenuity and
skill of a high order. Persons well educated, with a large
class of the most illiterate and degraded— negroes and
whites— young and old— were all to be found here as com-
mon associates, and generally as bed-fellows.
Some of the prisoners obtained a high reputation for their
roguery. One, by the name of Newman, published an ac-
count of his long career in crime and prison-breaking which,
if true, would entitle him to the highest rank among vil-
lains. He was, at times, quite successful in playing off his
deceptions. While in this prison, before his pranks were
discovered, he avoided labor by feigning sickness. He could
at any time raise blood, which his attendants supposed pro-
ceeded from his lungs. By feigning other symptoms of a
' pulmonary decline, he had strongly enlisted the sympathy
of the guard, and was exempted from labor. His object
was to avert the vigilance of his keepers, and thereby effect
his escape. Being foiled in this, he proceeded still further
and feigned fits. He contrived to manage these tricks so
well, that it was some time before the deception was dis-
covered. Succeeding in none of his deceptious practices,
he was, after all his trouble, compelled to serve out the
term of his imprisonment. In another prison, by counter-
feiting death, he came very near effecting his escape ; — at
least it is so stated in his memoir.
Another convict, by name Parker, after his release from
prison, had extraordinary success in deceiving the weak-
minded, by assuming the name and identity of persons who,
by long absence from their friends, were supposed to be
dead. He passed, for some time, as the long lost son of an
aged pair ; and, at another time, imposed himself upon a
woman as her husband who had been absent many years.
He also at times pretended to be a clergyman, and had
some success in this branch of his deceptive career.
A prisoner by the name of Corson, after his discharge, in
1826, published an account of his exploits, from which, it
would appear, that his character for villainy was well earned,
and correctly bestowed, — and that the safety of the public
required impermanent abode for him in some strong prison.
But, one of the most desperate and dangerous of the gang
was a convict of the name of Sloan, who, in 1821, was sen-
tenced for a long term of years for passing counterfeit money,
a large amount of which was also found in his possession.
While in Hartford jail, before his commitment to Newgate,
N E W G A T E P R I S O N . 25
he nearl}^ effected his escape by a bold and daring plot.
Indued with extraordinary muscular power — and being
reckless and courageous, yet cool and circumspect — he
became one of the most dangerous and troublesome prison-
ers at Newgate. He was the leader in all insuirections, and
was kept in subjection only by loading him heavily with
irons. In attempting to make his escape, he struck down
one of the guard, injuring him severely, for which outrage
he was subjected to an additional term of imprisonment.
The annals of Newgate furnish many incidents of an
interesting character. Some of them, depending on irnih-
tion, are so intermixed with fiction as to become nearly val-
ueless, and will soon pass into oblivion. A larger portion,
resting on better authority, remain, and furnish a mass of
information worthy of preservation.
As a place for criminals, this prison never fully answered
the purposes intended by the government. The guilty
were ixK]ce(\ punished — but rarely ever reformed. The free
intercourse among all classes of offenders, allowed during
the nigbt season, was well calculated to make all adepts in
roguery, and better fitted tlian ever for a new career in crime,
when, at the termination of imprisonment, they should again
mix with the world. No system, aiming at the reformation
of an offender, could be worse than this. Under such a
schoolings reformation could hardly be expected ; — it cer-
tainly was never realized to any considerable extent. Few,
if any, left the prison better men, or more favorably dispo-
sed to regard the rights of society, or obey its laws. As a
general rule, the convicts left the prison more hardened,
and more disposed tlian ever to engage in new criminal
enterprises, and with a better knowledge of the manner both
of committing offenses, and evading detection.
The state having erected a new prison at Wethersfield,
which was completed in September 1827, all the prisoners
remaining were removed fromNewgatelo this prit^on tm the
30th of that month ; — a few of them having previously been
taken out to work on the new prison.
The persons appointed overseers of the prison, fron) its
first establishment, were, — Erastus Wolcott, Josiah Bissell,
Jonathan Humphry, Asahel Holcomb, James Forward,
Matthew Griswold, Roger Newbury, John Treadwell, Pliny
Hillyer, Samuel Woodruff, Martin Sheldon, Reuben Barker,
Jonathan Pettibone Jr. and Thomas K. Brace.
Keepers: — John Viets,* Peter Curtiss, Major Reuben
Humphreys, Col. Thomas Sheldon, Salmon Clark, Charles
Washburn, Elam Tuller, Alexander H. Griswold and
* Mr. Viets, who was appointed by the General Assembly, resigned in
1776. From this time, until I7S2, the office was held by a number of per-
sons, — the keeper being the chief officer of the guard for the .time being.
Under the new act of 1790, the keepers were appointed by the overseers.
Mr. Curtiss was the first one appointed after this time.
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES,
BY THE INDIANS.
In the fall of 1707, Daniel Hayes, at the age of twenty-
two years, was taken by the Indians and carried captive into
Canada. He resided at Salmon brook, now the central part
of Granby, which, being- at that time the northern point of
settlement in the town, Avas peculiarly exposed to sudden
invasions by the Indians. The circumstances attending this
transaction, as preserved by tradition, are as follows.*
Some two or three years before Hayes was taken, he was
at a house-raising in Weatauge, when, very inconsiderately,
and out of mere wanton sport, he cut off the tail of a dog
belonging to an Indian, who, a stranger and entirely
unknown, happened to be present. The master of the dog,
though he uttered no complaint, manifested such emotions
of ill will and revenge, that Hayes, before they separated,
deemed it prudent for himself to attempt to pacify him.
He sought therefore a reconciliation, by proposing to drink
logether, and offered, moreover, reparation for the injury.
But the Indian rejected all overtures, and left the ground,
evidently in a surly and unreconciled mood of mind, and,
• The materials from which this account is compiled, were obligingly com-
municated to the author by Samuel II. WoodrufT and Ardon B. Holcomb
Esq'rs, of Granby. Of the general correctness of the narrative, no reasonable
doubt can be entertained, — as the facts have been derived, not only from the
descendants of Mr. Hayes, but also from several aged people, all of whom
concur in their statements regarding the main and important features of the
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES.
probably, with malice and revenge deeply impressed upon
his heart. Nothing afterwards being heard of the Indian
or his dog, (he circumstance, in a short time, if not forgot-
ten, became unheeded. But, the events which follow \vere
supposed to result from this affair.*
On the evening before his capture, there was a corn husk-
ing party at the house of Mr. Hayes, when, in the course of
conversation, he remarked that early in the ensuing morn-
ing, he should endeavor to find his horse, which was feed^
ing in the forests, and, as supposed, westerly of the settle-
ment. This conversation, as appeals from the sequel, was
overheard by Indians, who were, at that time, lurking about
the house, and who, it is supposed, from the information
thus obtained, devised their plans of operation for the next
After the family had retired and were asleep, they were
awakened by the barking of their dog, which manifested so
much uneasiness as to induce Mr. Hayes to leave his bed,
and, with his dog, to seek for the cause. Supposing the
disturbance to have proceeded from the incursion of cattle
into the corn-field contiguous to his house, (an ordinary
occurrence in t^ose days,) and finding it unmolested, he
again sought repose in sleep. But the dog continued rest-
ive, and plainly made known, by his conduct, that there was
something wrong in the neighborhood of the house.
The next morning, at an early hour, Mr. Hayes, taking
with him a bridle, proceeded into the forests to find his
horse. His route led him to pass Stoney Hill, a ridge of
land stretching north and south about eighty rods westerly
of Salmon brook street. Upon turning round the south point
" Thus goes the story. But the author must be allowed to say, for him-
self, that he very much doubts whether this affair had anything to do with the
capture of Hayes, which took place some years afterwards. The Indians, it
is well known, were incited to such deeds by the French in Canada, to whom
they carried their captives, and by whom, as is supposed, they were rewarded
for the service. The more correct supposition probably is, that the captors
came into this weak settlement, to sieze and carry off any person who might
be thrown in their way, and that they would have taken as readily any other
person as Hayes, if an opportunity, equally as favorable, had occurred.
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES,
of this hill, he was seized by three Indians, who sprang upon
I'lim from an ambush where they had secreted themselves
from view. So suddenly and unexpectedly came this
attack upon Hayes, that he was deprived of all power to
make resistance, or even any attempt to escape. One
Indian seized him by the throat — another, enjoined silence
by putting a hand over his mouth — whilst the other, with a
tomahawk raised over his head, enforced obedience and
submission. They immediately bound his hands at |^is
back, with the throat-latcli of the bridle, and, with their cap-
tive, hastily left the place, taking their course in a northern
Another account states that Hayes was accompanied by a
Mr. Lamson, who, being an agile and athletic man, outran
the Indians and effected his escape— that the number of
Indians, belonging to the party, amounted to five or more ;
and that the transaction was witnessed by a Mrs. Holcomb,
wife of Mr. Nathaniel Holcomb, who was in the fields
that morning milking, but who, from considerations relating
to her own safety, was deterred from returning home, or
giving an alarm, until the Indians with their captive had
left the place.
Very soon, however, the usual alarm was spread, and a
force was raised sufficient to make pursuit. Immediate
effort was made to relieve the captive, and punish tlie
aggressors. And notice of the calamity having been sent
to Windsor, a larger force came from that town to the
rescue. The route taken by the Indians was found and
traced, and, at times, the marks of their tracks appeared so
fresh, that strong hopes were entertained of overtaking
them. But, their superior cunning in such exploits, with
their Iketness in passing through the wilderness, enabled
them to avoid iheir pursuers, and escape with their prisontM-.
Ill the mcun lime Hayes, knowing that any symptoms of
lagging on his part would probably cost him his life, and
supposing, moreover, that in no event would his captors, if
closely pursued, suffer him to live, exerted himself to keep
up witli them. And he soon found he could do this without
30 1 CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAVES.
much fatigue, for he was robust, and accustomed to such
traveling. On one occasion, during tliis journey, when his
companions wished to test liis lleetness, he outstripped them
so far that they were on the point of shooting him to stop
his progress. He might then have escaped, as he after-
wards said, " if he had had his thoughts about him."
On the first night after his capture, the party encamped
at the foot of Sodom mountain. He was secured during the
night, by being placed upon his back, with each arm and
ancle strongly fastened to a sapling, and with sticks so cross-
ing his body as to be lain upon by an Indian on each side.
He passed most of the nights, l)ound in this manner, during
his long march to Canada. On the second day, the party
crossed Connecticut river, by fording and swimming, and
spent the ensuing night at the base of Mount Holyoke.
In this manner, they proceeded from day to day, up the
valley of Connecticut river and through the wilderness, on
their route to Canada. Many incidents occurred, which
Hayes used to relate. One evening, the little savages,
belonging to a village wbere the party had stopped,
annoyed him by tickling his feet as he lay before a fire with
his arms pinioned as usual. Bearing this annoyance as
long as his patience would allow, he attempted to get rid of
his tormentors by using his feet in self-defense — during
which process, some of them were kicked into the fire. He
expected nothing short of death for this aggression, but was
agreeably surprised when the fathers of the burnt children,
instead of offering violence, patted him on his shoulders and
exclaimed " boon ! "*
They were nearly thirty days on this journey, during all
which time the sufferings of poor Hayes were excessive, and
almost without intermission. Subjected to hard toil through
each day, with no sustenance save what the forests and
rivers furnished, and deprived at night of rest, by the man-
* If this word is correctly handed down, it was intended probably, for the
French word bon, and used on this occasion to express approbation. The
northern Indians, at this time, were in the habit of using a few words derived
from the P'rench.
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES. 31
ner of binding his limbs, he had that to sustain which, in
most cases, woukl have brought tlie sufferer to tbe grave.
But Hayes, if he must be a victim, determined that he at
least woukl not voluntarily contribute to hasten the sacrifice.
He possessed that happy faculty of making-, at all times, the
best of his condition. His cheerfulness, though assumed —
his ability to (,'ndure fatigue and hardships — and hisapparent
stoical indifference to his fate, secured the good opinion of
his comrades, and tended to lighten his burdens, and, possi-
bly, to prolong his life. Indulgence in despondency could
bring no relief, and would, as he well knew, but render
more bitter the cup of his afflictions. He very wisely there-
fore made up his mind " to make a virtue of necessity," by
submitting with the best possible grace to that fate which
he too well knew awaited him.
The Indians told him, on the journey, of their lying
about his house on the night before he was taken, and of
their overhearing the conversation relating to his intention
to proceed, on the next morning, into the wilderness to find
his horse ; which information, thus obtained, induced them
to lie in wait at Stoney hill in order to capture him.
When they arrived at the great Indian encampment on
the borders of Canada, the prisoner was delivered over to
the council of the nation, to be disposed of as tbey should
adjudge. By their decision, he was doomed to undergo tiie
painful ordeal of ^^ running the gauntlet.^'' Being stripped
to his skin, and annointed according to custom, he com-
menced the course ; and after many flagellations and hard
knocks received, when approaching near the end of the
line, being exhausted and faint, he bolted from the course to
avoid a blow from an upraised war club, and sought safely
by fleeing into a wigwam, at tlie door of which sat a super-
annuated and infirm squaw. He was pursued, but the
sipuiw proclaimed the house sacred, and its inmates pro-
tected from injury. By her intercession, and especially l)y
the deference paid to a place thus sanctified according to the
rites of Indian superstition, " the appetite of tlie savage
for blood was stayed."
32 CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES.
The squaw, whose husband and only son had fallen in
war, claimed the captive, and adopted him as her son.
Slie was destitute, and so infirm as to be unable to walk.
Hayes, in addition to minor duties, was compelled to provide
for her sustenance and fuel. He administered to her wants,
and devoted to her the kindest attentions, — and she, in
return, evinced her gratitude, by calling him her so7i ! He
lived in this family about five years ; and although, during
this time, he fared better, perhaps, than most Indian cap-
tives, yet existence, in his then condition, had for him but
few charms, and the future unveiled to his view no cheering
prospect. tHe was in bondage, compelled to adopt the
customs and modes of life of savages, and was deprived of
almost every comfort deemed necessary by civilized people.
Besides, he could entertain no reasonable hope of being
restored to his home and kindred — and more than all, his
life was at the mercy, whim, or caprice, of savage masters.
One of the tasks imposed upon him, in the winter season
was to draw upon a sled his Indian mother to such places
as she wished to visit, and especially to the feasts and coun-
cil assemblages of her tribe. Upon occasion of a " dog
feast," which, by the usages of her people, all were expected
to attend, he proceeded with her, in this manner, until,
ascending a hill which was steep and slippery, he found his
strength, when put to its utmost power, barely adequate to
make any headway. By perseverance and exertion how-
ever, he was enabled to reach nearly the summit of the hill,
when he slipped and fell ; and either by design, or inability
to hold on, left the sled, with its mortal load, to find the
bottom of the declivity without a pilot — secretly wishing, no
doubt, that her appetite for riding would be cured by this
trip. In this perilous adventure, the sled struck a stump
near the foot of the hill, which capsized the squaw, who
was severely injured by tbe fall. Whether an accident or
not, Hayes professed much sorrow for the disaster, and
managed the affair so adroitly, that he escaped every impu-
tation of blame, and continued to retain the confidence and
good opinion of the Indians.
CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES.
Slioitly after this event, he was sold to a Frenchman in
Montreal, through the agency, it is said, of a Papist priest.
His new master was kind, and allowed him many of the
necessaries, with some of the luxuries, of life, of which he
had been so long deprived. Learning that Hayes was by
trade a weaver, he started him in this business, and by
allowing him a share of the profits, Hayes was enabled, in
the course of about two years, to earn money enough to
purchase his freedom. The good Frenchman not only
emancipated him, but supplied him with clothes, provisions,
and a half breed guide to conduct him safely through the
warring tribes on his journey homeward. The guide pro-
ceeding with him as far as Mount Holyoke, pointed out to
him the smokes of his friends, " the pale faces," wished him
a happy return to his family, and departed, in another direc-
tion, to wend his way back to Canada. In about twenty-five
days after leaving Montreal, Hayes had the happiness to
reach his home, and to exchange hearty greetings and con-
gratulations with his friends, to whom he appeared almost
*' as one raised from the dead."
Thus, after an absence of about seven years, the captive
was restored to freedom, a home and a happy circle of rela-
tives and friends. He had heard nothing from his family
since his capture, nor had they received any tidings of him,
though they either knew, or had good reason to suppose,
that he had been taken and carried off by the Indians. His
friends had llattered themselves, for a long while, that he
would be spared to return to them, but his long absence had
extinguished every vestige of hope, and he had for some
time been given up as lost.
With buoyant spirits, renovated courage and unshaken
resolution, he set himself to the task of making up for the
lost time he had spent with the Indians. His constitution,
naturally robust, had suffered nothing by his long captivity,
and his ambition had lost none of its fire. He mariied,
settled down upon a farm, and within a short time, became
a thriving agriculturist. In 1720, he built a house which
is now standing, and is the oldest building in town. It is
34 CAPTIVITY OF DANIEL HAYES.
situated on the east side of Salmon brook street, in the lower
or southern part of the street, and is at present owned by
Mr. Henry Gillett. In this house religious meetings were
held during- some four or five years before the erection of
the first meeting-house in that society, in 1743.
Mr. Hayes became a prominent citizen, was often em-
ployed in civil affairs, and during many years, was a pillar
in the church at Salmon brook, of which he was a member
at its organization. He lived to see the infant settlement,
so long exposed to Indian barbarities, a populous village,
with no crafty enemy to disturb its repose, and strong enough,
had danger existed, to protect its inhabitants from plunder
or capture. But, long before his death, all Indian difficul-
ties had ceased.
He died in 1756, at the age of seventy-one, and was buried
in the cemetery at the north end of the village. A red free-
stone monument marks the spot of his last resting-place, on
which is inscribed the following epitaph :
HERE LIES, VB BODY OF
MR. DANIEL HAYES,
Who served his Generation in steady course of Probity and Piety,
and was a lover of Peace, and God's Public Worship ;
And being satisfied with Long life,
left this world with a Comfortable Hope of life Eternal,
Sept. 3d, 1756,
in ye 71 year of his Age.
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